Parkinson's Disease Support Groups

Find a community to help you cope

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is caused by the loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain. As a result of dopamine (a chemical messenger) depletion, various symptoms occur, such as tremors, stiffness, depression, sleeping issues, and more.

These symptoms of Parkinson's disease are often unpredictable and difficult to control. They worsen over time and eventually interfere with a person’s daily functioning.

Support groups—which can be small or large, and meet virtually or in-person—can help a person find strategies to cope with and adapt to the day-to-day struggles and demands of living with PD.

They may also reduce stress, serve as a source of encouragement, and improve quality of life. Joining one is also often a good way to learn about emerging PD research or therapies.

Here, we've rounded up some Parkinson’s disease support groups. The information provided is hopefully a good stepping stone for finding comfort and guidance.

American Parkinson Disease Association

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Online forum, seminars, classes, in-person events
  • Details: Offers a large network with support groups nationwide, online communities for caregivers, and educational seminars
  • Things to consider: Not a very active Facebook page

The American Parkinson Disease Association (ADPA) is reportedly the largest grassroots organization devoted to fighting Parkinson’s disease.

The ADPA, along with Smart Patients, a support site, formed an online forum. Within this free discussion forum, patients with PD, loved ones, and caregivers can socialize, learn more about PD, and share tips and coping strategies about living with the disease.

Besides its friendly and warm online support community, the ADPA has move than 1,400 free support groups nationwide. Each one is unique—some are devoted to people diagnosed with PD at a young age while others focus on caregivers or family members of people with PD.

The ADPA also offers exercise classes, such as Tai Chi, non-contact boxing, yoga, and dance, as well as educational seminars and social meet and greet events.

DailyStrength Parkinson’s Disease Support Group

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Online forum
  • Details: Easy-to-use interface, small and intimate support group, and provides access to doctors
  • Things to consider: It's not a very active group

The DailyStrength Parkinson’s Disease Support Group is a free and welcoming online support community with more than 400 members and 3,000 posts.

The mission of the group is centered around empowering and inspiring each other to overcome PD-related and life challenges.

Overall, the DailyStrength website is easy to navigate, and registration is straightforward and quick. Posts are informational, practical, and thoughtful. This is, perhaps, a good place to start for people looking for a smaller, more intimate online support group that is not overwhelming or associated with a national organization.

Even though the site is not moderated, to keep the support group safe and positive, DailyStrength has a set of guidelines that the members are asked to follow.

Parkinson’s Foundation

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Online forum, in-person events
  • Details: Various discussion groups on specific topics, health and wellness classes, and free educational resources
  • Things to consider: Posted questions may not be answered immediately

The Parkinson’s Foundation was formed from the merging of two other foundations—the National Parkinson Foundation and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

The Parkinson’s Foundation has a vast network of free, in-person support groups located throughout the country. Most of them are for anyone living with PD, but some are geared toward a certain audience (i.e. people with youth onset PD).

There's also a free online support community called PD Conversations. Here, individuals can connect with others living with PD, as well as get their questions answered by PD experts. The online community is broken up into discussion groups—newly diagnosed, symptoms of PD, Spanish-speaking patients, and much more.

Health and wellness classes and free educational resources are offered through its local networks. The organization also raises awareness and funds through various gatherings, such as its annual fundraising event called the Moving Day Walk.

PatientsLikeMe

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Online forum
  • Details: An active community with a large network with more than 29,000 members, and there are information sharing features
  • Things to consider: Data collected may be shared with partners

The Parkinson's disease support forum on PatientsLikeMe is a free online support community of close to 30,000 members.

Members can voluntarily report aspects of their disease, for example symptoms, medications, lifestyle habits, and diet. This data is collected and shared in the form of basic, colorful charts. Members can also sift through the data using easy-to-use search and filter tools.

Besides sharing and learning from one another, individuals can socialize and foster connections or friendships. Profiles on the forum (only visible to members) contain information like gender, age, hometown, and a picture (which makes it more personal). Members can also include a short bio about themselves and a list of interests.

Any information shared in the forum is not protected by HIPAA, because it is voluntarily provided. Also, other members can send private messages—but just through the forum, and not via email.

Parkinson’s Movement Disorder and Alliance

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: In-person support groups, virtual Zoom support groups, chat forums/message boards
  • Details: Offers both in-person and virtual support groups, educational videos and resources, and support is available for care partners
  • Things to do: A survey needs to be completed first before you can participate in the online community

The Parkinson’s Movement Disorder and Alliance (PMD Alliance) is a nonprofit organization that focuses on characteristics like empathy, creativity, resiliency, and shared learning.

It also has a wealth of support and educational services. Aside from online programming and Zoom support groups, this organization also offers various in-person support groups located throughout the country.

Additionally, the organization features numerous educational programs like "Lunch with Docs," in which individuals can meet with a movement disorder specialist virtually over lunch from the comfort of their own home.

There are free workshops across the country called In Sync for supporting and teaching people interested in developing their skills as a support group leader.

There, people can learn skills and build confidence in designing and leading their own support group (including exercise-based support groups) for Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders. Leadership experts and healthcare professionals also provide guidance through informational presentations.

Parkinson’s Community

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Facebook group
  • Details: A large, active community where family members can join and participate, and posts are only visible to members
  • Things to consider: A Facebook account is required

Parkinson’s Community operates a Facebook support group with more than 18,000 members and hundreds of posts each month.

This free and active group is private, meaning it requires permission to join, and posts are only visible to members. It’s open to people living with PD and their family members.

While the company that runs this community (Research Catalyst) is focused on finding study participants for various research studies, individuals can simply join the Facebook group for support and encouragement.

Besides the online support group, Parkinson's Community offers other resources as well. People can qualify to speak to a Parkinson's disease advocate about their personal journey with PD and see if they (or their loved ones) qualify for different PD-related clinical trials.

NeuroTalk

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Online forum
  • Details: Helpful, welcoming community, simple-to-use interface, and access to other groups and off-topic discussions.
  • Things to consider: The group is not very active

NeuroTalk is a free and casual online support group for people with neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease.

After registering and creating a username and password on the website, individuals can enter the Parkinson’s disease forum. Many of the posts have more than hundreds of thousands of views.

The posts vary widely in content, from talking about symptoms and therapies to discussing the biology behind Parkinson’s disease. People also use the site to request or offer medical equipment, socially connect, tell jokes, or inspire one another through art or poetry.

A Word From Verywell

For people living with Parkinson's disease, support groups can be a source of comfort and inspiration that can help facilitate a better quality of life. Most support groups are free to join, making it easy to join a few to find the right one for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are Parkinson's disease support groups?

    Parkinson’s disease support groups are people living with PD (or loved ones/caregivers of those with PD) who come together to share their common experiences. Through sharing, members of support groups can provide and receive comfort, encouragement, knowledge, advice, and inspiration.

  • Is a Parkinson's disease support group right for me?

    While support groups have multiple benefits, you can join whenever you feel ready. Listen and trust your gut, but also try and be open to the idea of sharing your experience and learning from others. If you decide to join a support group, try to remain patient, as finding the right group can be a bit of a trial-and-error process. Keep in mind that you can always opt-out of the group at any time, or rejoin later when the time is right.

  • How are Parkinson's disease support groups structured?

    Most Parkinson’s disease support groups are structured around a particular area of focus. They provide a comforting environment, either virtually or in-person, where members can connect, share their experiences, learn from each other, gather information, and receive emotional support. The moderation of each group may vary, with some groups having more oversight than others. In many cases, the support group (especially in-person ones) are led by a volunteer group member but have guidance from a healthcare professional or social worker.

  • How much do Parkinson's disease support groups cost?

    Most Parkinson’s disease support groups, and their associated resources and services are free. Select exercise classes or activities may cost a small fee. By joining a support group within an organization, you may receive information about its various fundraising events, or ways in which you can make a monetary donation. These funds contribute to the running of the overall organization, which includes its support groups.


Additional reporting by Stephanie Valera.

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2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Artigas NR, Striebel VLW, Hilbig A, Rieder CRM. Evaluation of quality of life and psychological aspects of Parkinson’s disease patients who participate in a support group. Dement Neuropsychol. 2015;9(3):295–300. doi:10.1590/1980-57642015DN93000013